Adaptively Harnessing Uncertainty
Our Integrative Design Process
Here at Emerald Seven, we’re a highly collaborative crew. We don’t pretend to know all of the things, and you don’t need to worry about knowing them either. We harness uncertainty and learn out in the open.
We never take a project at face value. We design. We develop. We critique. We iterate. (And, repeat!) It turns out, all of that leads to a better project.
Why should I use an integrative design process for my project?
We believe it leads to more successful product.
A design process you come across more frequently is often referred to as the “waterfall” process.
Let’s say you need a new website.
If you use the waterfall process, you will have siloed teams working in a linear fashion: the next phase won’t begin until the previous phase is complete. The design must be finished before the developer comes into the picture; the development must be wrapped before the content team comes in.
We’ve been through that process, and projects produced in this way often cost more than anticipated for an inferior product — and you don’t want that. The best products are not designed — or developed — in a vacuum.
Our integrative design process allows us to bring up the phases of a project together. For that same website project, we would design in-browser, iterating on the layout, the development, and the content at once. This means that each of these parts of the process can (and do!) influence the others, leading to a richer, more integrated product.
What are the components of our integrative process?
During the initial discovery period, we gather all the necessary specifications and requirements for your project. Using classic sketching and diagramming techniques borrowed from the traditional world of architectural design, we develop a plan for each piece of the project, including how each element integrates with another.
We seek to reveal as much information as possible in order to identify potential downstream pain points early on. Early detection facilitates ease of resolution, which supports a healthy schedule and budget.
Conceptual design not only forms the “big picture concept” underpinning a project, but also helps us periodically check our assumptions against any proposed solution. Each project is rooted both in precedent and in a working conceptual framework we will visit repeatedly throughout the process.
During this phase, we seek to deeply understand context: your brand identity and that of your competitors, corollary organizations that may inform our work, your audience, and any other relevant influencers.
This phase begins in earnest with the co-iteration of the design and development of the product. In the case of a website, this means in-browser design and development. In the case of graphic work, such as a whitepaper, the design and development occur in the production software, in a highly flexible layout, not in a canned template.
The various models and views begin to take shape across each application. Rapid prototyping, through successive rounds of iteration, govern the work completed, buoyed by internal and external critique of the evolving project.
In practice, experience development operates in tandem with experience design — the two are difficult to distinguish from one another due to their mutual feedback and overlap. With that said, the experience design phase is most notably marked by the evolution of integrated functionality across the various views and systems.
Where experience design generates the modular components used in a project, experience development puts those components to use.
Here, we test, refine, and optimize to ensure optimal performance. Once the team is satisfied and the product is stable, we launch into production. Following launch, there are a couple of options to move forward.
In a phased launch approach, we return to the appropriate prior portion of the integrative design process, continuing to design and develop various features of the applications until project goals are met. Alternatively, we offer the option of an enhancement model.
In an enhancement model approach, we complete all project requirements prior to launch. Once launched, clients have the opportunity to engage us to build out additional features or other deliverables, informed by the user/business needs that arise following the initial launch of a project.
If, when, and to what degree this service is necessary is unique to each project and project type.
Did we pique your interest?
How about a taking a gander at the services we offer, or exploring our portfolio?
Our Design, Development, and Content Services
Our agile creative studio based in Seattle offers services in interdisciplinary design, modern web development, and custom-crafted content. We love to work in both digital and physical media, and can help you strategize how to best leverage your web presence and print collateral to meet your needs.
Our Integrated Portfolio of Work
Check out the glamour shots of our work, explore a little about how these projects came to be, and learn about how their design and development characteristics support their success. If you ever have any questions about a project and whether or not an aspect of it could suit your needs, don’t hesitate to ask.
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